Linkages Between Work Intensification, Employee Engagement and Employee Outcomes:an Empirical Investigation Into Chinese Manufacturing

Abstract

This research focuses on the intensification of work and its impact on employees’ psychology and behaviors in Chinese manufacturing industry. Based on the review of the intensification of work and the importance of work engagement in this intensified work context, the primary research objective is to investigate the relationship between work intensification, work engagement, and employee outcomes (e.g. task performance, job satisfaction, and health and wellbeing). To fulfil this objective, the thesis generates five research questions: (1) How does individual/team work intensification and employee outcomes (e.g. task performance, job satisfaction, and health & wellbeing) relate to individual work engagement? (2) How does the level of individual Guanxi affect the linkage between work intensification and individual work engagement? (3) How does individual’s job crafting affect the linkage between individual work intensification and work engagement? (4) How does servant leadership influence the relationship between individual work intensification and work engagement? (5) How does team work intensification relate to individual work intensification and work engagement? To answer these five research questions, seven hypotheses are developed and tested. (1) Individual level work intensification will be negatively related to individual level work engagement. (2) Individual level work engagement will be positively related to individual level (a) task performance, (b) job satisfaction, and (c) health & well-being. (3) Individual level work engagement will mediate the relationship between individual level work intensification and (a) individual level task performance, (b) job satisfaction, (c) health & well-being. (4) Individual level Guanxi will moderate the negative relationship between individual level work intensification and work engagement. (5) Individual level job crafting will moderate the relationship between individual level work intensification and work engagement. (6) Individual perceived servant leadership will moderate the relationship between individual level work intensification and work engagement. (7) The effect of team level work intensification on individual level work engagement is mediated by individual level work intensification. A quantitative questionnaire-based survey research is designed to collect and analyse empirical evidence. All the scales used in the questionnaires are mature and originally developed in English. A translation-back translation approach is used to develop the questionnaire. A set of multi-sourced and time-lagged data were collected from manufacturing enterprises, and the analysis of measurement validity and reliability, regression analysis of direct and (cross-level) mediation relationships, and the test of moderating effects show that 5 out of 7 hypotheses are supported. The research findings largely fulfil the objective of the research and answered the research questions. Specifically, (1) Unexpectedly, individual level work intensification is positively related to individual level work engagement. (2) Individual level work engagement is positively related to individual level (a) task performance, (b) job satisfaction, and (c) health & well-being. (3) Individual level work engagement mediates the relationship between individual level work intensification and (a) individual level task performance, (b) job satisfaction, (c) health & well-being. (4) Individual level Guanxi does not moderate the negative relationship between individual level work intensification and work engagement. (5) Individual level job crafting moderates the relationship between individual level work intensification and work engagement. (6) Individual perceived servant leadership moderates the relationship between individual level work intensification and work engagement. (7) The effect of team-level work intensification on individual-level work engagement is mediated by individual-level work intensification. The results are discussed: particularly, the research of the unexpected positive effects of work intensification on work engagement and the insignificant moderating effects of Guanxi on the relationship between work intensification and work engagement gain more attention. The unexpected positive effects of work intensification on work engagement are attributed to possible causes including the better education background and upgraded needs/pursuits of today’s manufacturing employees in China or the unique context, which is co-created by the reduction of market demands caused by COVID-19 within the general trend of work intensification and engagement. The insignificant moderating effects of Guanxi with supervisors on the relationship between individual work intensification and work engagement might indicate a shift in the role of China’s cultural factors that would adjust the effectiveness of Western-style management practices. Lastly, the theoretical, empirical, methodological and practical contributions are explained in the final part of the thesis. Before it concludes, the limitations of this research are acknowledged and suggestions for future research are offered.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
Additional Information: © Qinghua Liu, 2021. Qinghua Liu asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this thesis. This copy of the thesis has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognise that its copyright rests with its author and that no quotation from the thesis and no information derived from it may be published without appropriate permission or acknowledgement. If you have discovered material in Aston Publications Explorer which is unlawful e.g. breaches copyright, (either yours or that of a third party) or any other law, including but not limited to those relating to patent, trademark, confidentiality, data protection, obscenity, defamation, libel, then please read our Takedown Policy and contact the service immediately.
Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Work Intensification,Work Engagement,Guanxi,Job Crafting,Servant Leadership,Task Performance,Job Satisfaction,Health and Wellbeing
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2022 09:01
Date Deposited: 04 May 2022 16:22
Completed Date: 2021-11
Authors: Liu, Qinghua

Export / Share Citation


Statistics

Additional statistics for this record